Skunkjuice – at The Vertex – Review


at The Vertex
by Joe Alberto

The houselights dimmed slowly at The Vertex in Hadley, MA. The search for change continues. As I finally find someone I know and bum the final twenty-five cents for that ever-loving beer, the lights slam a wall of such raw brightness into the packed club that I had no choice, I turned my back on the bar.

It’s almost dreamlike. I wander toward the front of the crowded floor. Can this be real? A local band this good? By this time, I can only hope and pray the vision before me doesn’t evaporate, as have so many god-send mirage bands I’ve seen.

The beat styling of J.T. Main courses blood-pumping rhythm through the veins of their first song. Scott Francis roars low, guttural melodies of “Daisy Chain.” The second song, “Quiet Echo” showcases guitarist Tim Martin, as bassist Chris Pauze rumbles a low and trance-like groove throughout.

Slowly, and assuredly, I realize I am witnessing something very special. Tim Martin ups the ante and soars through off-beat guitar patterns with ease. As the spectacle builds, it dawns on this reviewer that each song seems to mushroom from the one prior to it. Each song hints at what is beneath, and evokes an ever more involved passion from within the audience, as individuals and as one. Woven from pure experience and integrity, songs like “So Lost,” “Believe,” and “I Cut, I Bleed” wrap the full spectrum of emotion around you. Anger, despair, longing, faith, confusion, rage…

A mixture of poetic lyrics and the therapeutic release of pure energy radiates simplicity and a new safety. A safety that has not been felt, or dealt, since the days of truth, love, and fury. This band is real, and even a cynic could tell, the music comes from the heart.

As I left the shaded nightclub, the feeling of raw vitality ingrained within me, I realized I never did get that beer. I did, however, get my hands on a Skunkjuice cassette. It’s a trade-off I’d make any day.